Missing Star, by Don Westenhaver

MWSA Review
Don Westenhaver's MISSING STAR is a well paced telling of one Marine's refusal to give up on the love of his life.

Danny, a Marine recently returned from the World War I front, is happy to be back home, but dismayed to find that his long time love, Joyce, has gone missing after finally catching her big Hollywood break.  Danny vows to find her, and sets forth on an adventure fraught with danger as crooked cops and corrupt businessmen try to keep Danny from finding out the truth.

Westenhaver does a great job of developing the character of Danny, and revealing his motivations for what he does.  A good Catholic boy who was forced to fight and kill for his country, he carried those wounds with him back home.  The story Westenhaver creates shows Danny using what he learned as a Marine to tirelessly search for his lost love, even though he isn't sure she even wants him back.  

Colored with the author’s own experiences as a Marine and in the oil industry, this book offers an interesting story line, memorable characters, and gripping action.  Definitely worth the time and effort!

by Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
Danny Parker, a pilot wounded in the Great War, returns home to Long Beach, California, in 1919 hoping to reconcile with his former girlfriend, Joyce Villareal, who is now a silent movie star. But Joyce has disappeared. Danny and Joyce were best friends since first grade. As juniors in high school their friendship became romantic. But just before graduation, Danny surprised Joyce by announcing he planned to study for the priesthood. Angry and hurt, she broke up with him and moved to Hollywood to become an actress at Paramount. Three years later, he left the seminary and enlisted in the Marines, eventually becoming one of the first Marine aviators. He crashes in France and barely survives a horrendous battle. Finally home in Long Beach, he has no desire to return to the seminary or the service. His physical wounds have healed but not the emotional trauma of death and destruction from so many months of combat. His only plan is to resume a relationship with Joyce, if she’ll have him. Bu first he has to find her. Danny searches her bungalow near Griffith Park, finding a hidden diary which mentions dates with three men, whom she refers to as the Comedian, the Daredevil, and the Producer. He visits Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, where Joyce has been filming Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with John Barrymore. Paramount assigns a detective to the case. The Los Angeles Police Department is strangely unconcerned. The search for Joyce has given Danny’s life meaning again. He enlists the help of the stunt pilot who taught him to fly, an old priest scarred by the Indian Wars, a police chief who prefers justice to politics, and a big tent evangelist who preaches women’s rights. Clues lead to a former Barnum & Bailey showman who owns hundreds of Nickelodeon theaters and is now running for mayor of Los Angeles.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-50690-366-8, 978-1-50690-367-5
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 261